Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to end the blood donation ban for gay men and replace it with risk-based criteria for all potential donors.
His comments come after MSPs at the Public Petitions Committee heard calls for the introduction of individual risk-based blood donation.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“The present ban is outdated and deeply discriminatory. Blood donation should be based on science and not on the stigma of sexuality.
"My colleague Tim Farron has led calls to end this discrimination in England & Wales. Scottish Liberal Democrats would end the blood donation ban for gay men and replace it with risk-based criteria for all potential donors.”
The Liberal Democrats' first opposition day motion in the 2015 Parliament called for the government to end the 'gay blood ban'.
In 2016, Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, tabled a parliamentary bill to end the ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men. Talking about the bill, he said "The current law which bars sexually active gay men is scientifically and socially outdated, deeply and unjustly stigmatising, and urgently needs to change. In 2016 I cannot see why we can't support an evidence based approach. I hope my bill today is another stage in the long running campaign to deliver equality."
The current guidelines set out that men must not donate if they have had oral or anal sex with another man in the previous 12 months, even if a condom or other protection was used. ‘High risk’ groups are permanently excluded from donating, for example, injecting drug users and commercial sex workers.